Guild Wars 2 Charr Week

ArenaNet charrged up the hype machine this week with a look into another one of Guild Wars 2’s featured races: the fearsome charr.  As promised in Monday morning’s post, they took a spin through many of the aspects of the charr: their starter area, their voice-work, the visual design behind their race, and some exciting new lore accompanied by images and an epic video of the Black Citadel.

The week kicked off with a post by Devon Carver, a member of the content design team who has contributed to the charr starter map, talking yet again about the benefits of ArenaNet’s iterative process and how their willingness to go back and change things has really strengthened the design of the game.  Very little of what he said about the process of feedback and iteration is new to people following the game’s development, but it still gave readers a nice glimpse of what to look forward to as a charr.

Tuesday held a survey of the charr’s voice-acting.  Over the last three race weeks, this seems to be the area that ArenaNet’s team has taken the most unified criticism.  Despite the fact that these are supposed to be background voices (and part of the “over 60 feature films worth of dialog for Guild Wars 2“), people have disparaged everything from the way the lines are read to the timbre of the voices and whether or not they match up with folks’ ideas of the race in question.  If you haven’t heard this yet, head on over to the blog and give it a look-see.

Wednesday was perhaps the greatest day for yours truly, as it took a look at the visual design of the charr.  In a one line summary: “My approach was simple: make the charr badass. And then make them even more badass. (- Kekai Kotaki)” It has apparently worked!  The charr look totally awesome, and I, for one, would like to send a massive amount of thanks and internet points and karma and cookies to the inimitable Kristin Perry for her guidance in the creation of the female charr.   The ‘none or six’ ultimatum that she made on the issue of charr chest accents was quite possibly the highlight of my entire week.

Thursday and Friday held enough lore and storytelling to please any lore enthusiasts, as well as giving us a video of the charr’s delightfully steampunk capital city, the Black Citadel.


One of the greatest things about the lore updates is the balanced view that it gives to the charr nation as a whole.  Yes, they are indisputably warriors.  They are fierce and vicious and seem to pursue victory with a whole-heartedness that is almost terrifying. But they are also strictly disciplined and hold honor in high regard.  They will give up anything to protect those they love and serve with.  Ree’s story, interwoven with the post about the ranks and orders of the charr infrastructure, was quite touching and revealed a wholly necessary softer side to the hell-cats we met in the world of Guild Wars 1.

It would have been very easy, I think, to make an entire race of baddies and leave them at that.  Goodness knows, most GW1 players wouldn’t have argued at all.  It wouldn’t be hard to leave them as they were and leave them to people who wanted to play darker characters, with bloodlust and little thought to the greater good.  Taking the time to give the charr not only a hint at a culture, but in fact sentiments and virtues, is an excellent move.  The charr are not baddies – they’re badasses.

People who’ve read Edge of Destiny are possibly not surprised to find this out: in that book, we see that Rytlock has not only a strict code of honor, but what appears to be truly deep affection for his comrades.  It’s comforting to see that he’s not an exception to the rule, and to see the whole of the charr have been made into more sympathetic characters.  That same fleshing-out seems to apply to other races as well – specifically, the few asura that readers have met in the two published books have added more depth to our idea of the race as a whole.  Snaff may be my favorite character in the whole of the Guild Wars ‘verse, and it has mostly to do with the fact that he’s got quite a bit more depth than most asura that we met in the Eye of the North.

To our readers: What was your favorite part of this race week?  What do you think of the charr?

Edit: My choice of the word ‘honor’ has been questioned, which is totally valid. I suppose that ‘honor’ might just be the closest word I can find for it. That is, their honor isn’t bound up in chivalry or niceties: their honor is tied to their warband and legion, their comport in battle and under other stresses, their usefulness, their bravery.
Better word? I’m open to suggestions.

About the author: Elixabeth has been a Guild Wars fan since the release of Nightfall, and is now eagerly awaiting the release of Guild Wars 2. To bide the time, she began fiddling around with the online GW community and takes great pleasure combining two of her great loves (writing and games) here at TalkTyria. Follow her on Twitter, if you like!

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About elixabeth

Hallo! I've been playing games of all sorts for as long as I can remember, writing since before then, and playing Guild Wars since just after the release of NightFall. If I wasn't a geek, I wouldn't be on this site. Online communities - the way that some people will unite to become something much, much more wonderful than a bunch of total jerks, despite the anonymity provided to them by the internet - absolutely fascinate me. Pleased to meetcha!
  • draxynnic

    Is this really the first comment here? 😮

    I’m not sure “honour” is really the right word for the charr – honour in warfare often consists of various restrictions that represent fighting honourably even (and perhaps especially) when flouting those restrictions would give you a greater chance of victory. As Pyre puts it: “Honor be damned!”

    What the charr have is loyalty, camaraderie, and a strong sense of shared purpose in service to their warband and legion.

  • I agree somewhat with Drax.
    I don’t know if it’s honor, per-say, as much as a steadfast determination and confidence (which is equally attractive as a quality, in this case). It’s not like how humans often teeter in gray areas of morality and often flip-flip. Charr believe what they believe, they set their goals, and they stop at nothing to achieve them. WE may think their tactics are shady, but they don’t (or perhaps they just don’t care), which is what’s cool about them.

    I like the charr. And my normal inclination to steer clear if playing the race that all the cool-kids are playing is very much tested in this case.

    • I suppose that ‘honor’ might just be the closest word I can find for it. That is, their honor isn’t bound up in chivalry or niceties: their honor is tied to their warband and legion, their comport in battle and under other stresses, their usefulness, their bravery.
      Better word? I’m open to suggestions.

      • I went to art skool

        • There really aren’t words for how much I ♥ you.

      • draxynnic

        Thinking on it, the three (positive) terms that I think most come to mind when considering the charr are discipline, loyalty, and ingenuity. The first two are often associated with honour, but there are other components that the charr refute.

  • Ramei Arashi

    Since, you, asked: the only good charr is a dead char. Not bad? They only killed untold thousands of people, two entire nations destroyed because of them and a third nation nearly so.

    Charrh have no honor. To quote one charr from Guild Wars: Eye of the North, “honor be damned!”

    • Arngrim Einheri

      You seem to intentionally forget that humans are like the charr but I never saw you getting mad about humans. I think you are just jealous of the charr, plantman.

  • Junas

    Only problem is, the hype machine kinda failed. They probably chose the worst week to do it in. I mean, did they think they could out-hype portal 2 or what?

    • Curious comment. How did it fail, exactly?
      For some reason I don’t see them actually trying to complete with portal 2 at all (many of the devs are fans of the game and play it themselves).

      I figure, the people who care about GW2 will take the time to read the info when they can.

    • Tab

      Was Portal 2 released last week? Guess I was too busy reading all that sweet new GW2 stuff. It tends to eclipse just about everything else.

  • teraphas

    Strikes me that the charr value loyalty valor and integrity the most. They may respect honor even if it is not a charr ideal. Its all about what gets the job done. So far if I only had one word for each race’s virtues I would put charr at valor, norn at glory, and humans for honor. Will have to wait to see how the other race weeks play out but I expect auras to embody knowledge(gasp) and the sylvari to be wisdom

  • Zorkian

    They remind me a lot of the Klingon’s in Star Trek. Began as simply the villain of the week, then became the big bad, then by the time of TNG, it was revealed that they were fierce warriors who valued honor and discipline.

    I guess to use real history, think of them like the Romans. Destroyed everyone that opposed them, honored those who honored them.

    • gwiat

      They are very much not like the Romans. Yes they conquer, but no, they do not honor those who honor them. At the moment the only reason we have for them actually siding with the other 4 races is the fact that the dragons are a bigger threat. If you have been reading the lore you would know that it clearly states that they were at war with the humans of ebonhawke until the threat the dragons posed forced them to ally themselves with the humans or be destroyed. The Charr may seem to have changed a lot since guild wars 1 but they have really only changed in outward appearance. For the Charr the survival and advancement of their kind is not the main priority, it is really the only priority.

      • I don’t think the war with the humans really reflects on their idea of honoring those who honor them, or any other virtue they may or may not subscribe to as a race. I mean, the humans haven’t ever been friendly towards the charr, or made any real overtures in that direction – the charr see the searing and their campaign against humans as just retribution for the way the humans displaced them from their own homelands. So I don’t really think that that prejudice can really be brought to bear on whether or not they’re honorable/just/decent.

  • Nogitsune

    ”My choice of the word ‘honor’ has been questioned, which is totally valid.

    Better word? I’m open to suggestions.”


    ”strength of mind or spirit that enables a person to encounter danger with firmness : personal bravery”

    • Oh, I guess teraphas got there before me 🙂 So yes, I’ll agree in regards to Charr – valor is the first thing that comes to mind. I’d also agree that Norn seem to seek personal glory above almost all else. Another quality that comes to mind regarding them is ‘reckless’. I would however not attribute ‘honor’ to humans. That’s about the last thing that comes to mind. ‘Tenacity’ maybe. But none of their action seems to suggest honor. Foefire? ‘Politics’, the schemes of the factions within Lion’s Arch? White Mantle? The end of Orr? Where exactly is the honor in the history of human kind in GW universe?